Canadian authorities have reviewed one third of potential instances of international students defrauded by overseas consultants with fake college admission letters.
On Oct. 24, Michèle Kingsley, assistant deputy minister of operations for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said 30 international students have been granted temporary permits to stay in Canada as a result of the government’s five-month investigation.
Kingsley told the federal standing committee on citizenship and immigration that students at risk of removal were being prioritized. This includes students currently facing deportation before the Immigration and Refugee Board, and those who were enrolled at a university or college within three months of their arrival in Canada.
“We intervene when the case has been heard and concluded at the IRB,” Kingsley advised.
Aaron McCrorie, vice-president of Canada Border Services Agency intelligence and enforcement, told the standing committee that of the 309 cases before the joint task force, 24 were duplicates, and 103 have been successfully reviewed.
Forty students were deemed not genuine, and are subject to removal, McCrorie said on Tuesday. These students have been given the opportunity to provide additional information. Of those 40 students, 17 are currently in Canada.
“We are following up with the 17,” he said, adding that new information provided by these students will be re-assessed.
Students who receive removal orders by the joint task force can appeal to the IRB, Federal Court and the IRCC for a pre-removal risk assessment.
Four of the temporary permits issued by the task force were granted to students who were removed prior to their investigation.
The majority were granted to international students facing removal orders in Canada.
Former immigration minister Sean Fraser said in June that 57 international students were subject to a removal order and eight had already been deported. He said that students who had been removed could participate in a review process.
In March, New Canadian Media reported potentially hundreds of international students facing deportation over fake college letters after spending years and thousands of dollars to come to Canada to live and study.
On June 14, after a weeks-long permanent protest outside CBSA offices in Mississauga, Fraser announced the joint task force to investigate and said that scammed students would be allowed to stay.
A week later, CBSA laid criminal charges under the Immigration and Refugee Act against an Indian agent for allegedly misrepresenting himself as a licensed immigration consultant and offering advice.
Brijesh Mishra was arrested in B.C. and charged with five counts under IRPA from 2016 to 2023, according to a warrant retrieved from B.C. provincial court in Vancouver.
According to detention review transcripts obtained by NCM in August, Mishra appeared before the IRB immigration division on June 16 — 48 hours after his initial arrest — where he was told to return in a week for his release conditions.
He remains in custody and his next court appearance is scheduled for next month.
Kaitlyn Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Canadian Media